Undertaking a home renovation is not for the faint-hearted. It takes time and immense patience, and costs a pretty penny. However, the reward is always worth the hassle – so long as you properly plan and prepare for your renovation.
If you’re considering a home renovation – big or small – follow these 10 steps to ensure the process is as smooth and successful as it can be.
1. Outline your aims
Before you launch into the planning stages of a home renovation, you should succinctly map out exactly what it is that you want. Do you want to add an extension onto the back of your house? Do you want to complete an attic conversion? Do you want to build an en-suite off the master bedroom? Do you want to build an annex in the backyard?
Your renovation plans will affect overall cost, timeframes, and may cause you to consider things like plumbing and electrics, so be as specific as possible.
2. Decide on a budget
It’s now time to talk budget – the biggest deciding factor when it comes to planning a home renovation. Beware that you must consider everything from materials and labour costs to alternative living costs in case you must move out of your home during the renovation.
If your renovation dreams are bigger than your bank balance, you may also need to take out a loan or even extend your mortgage. This should be considered months – even years – before the renovation actually takes place, and be sure to keep your bank informed.
3. Research, research, research
The next step is to do your homework. Flick through as many home magazines as possible, and look online at current home trends and consult Q&A forums. The more information and inspiration you can gather, the better. You may even choose to make a mood board which you can keep as a reference throughout the process, and even share with your architect and builders later down the line.
You should also consider finishes and interiors early on, in case you want to match fixtures to furnishings, etc.
Through your research, you may find that your plans are too grand or are not feasible. It actually might be cheaper to move house entirely instead of renovating your current one.
4. Talk to architects
Whatever size your renovation is, It is highly advised to seek assistance from a reputable architect. Not only are they less expensive than you may assume, but they can also actually help you to save money by planning around your specific lifestyle and individual needs. With an architect guiding you through the process, your experience will be less hassle and will be without costly surprises.
5. Seek council approval and planning permission
Next, you should check with your council to ensure that you can perform your required renovation. It’s crucial that you do this because you don’t want to get all the way through the planning stage, having sourced builders and securing dates in the diary, only to find out that your ideal renovation is against the law. If this happens, you may have to go back to the drawing board, and this could set you back months.
It’s worth noting that the application process can take months, and involves sharing a detailed proposal of your design-build project. Even if you are only extending your house a few square metres, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. However, if you are refurbishing the interiors of your home, and are making no changes to its exterior, it is highly unlikely that you’ll need to seek permission from the council. Again, an architect can advise you on this.
6. Source experienced builders
Don’t take any shortcuts when planning a home renovation, and this includes sourcing the right builders for the job. Reputable and reliable builders that are fully certified will be more expensive than ones that aren’t, but can you really afford not to hire the best?
Ask around your family, friends and neighbours to find out if they’ve worked with contractors whom they really recommend. Line up multiple options and be sure to interview them, check their references and brief them with a proposal and budget for your build.
Depending on your type of renovation, you may also need to source experienced plumbers and electricians.
7. Secure plans, timeframe and budget
Once you have finalised your renovation plans with your architect, you must work out a detailed timeframe with your builders. You may also need to work out alternative living arrangements, so it’s important that you factor this in early.
8. Prepare the space
It’s now time for the renovation to commence, but before the builders arrive on site you should prep the space. This involves removing furniture from the space – you may consider hiring a removalist to remove large furniture like couches and tables – as well as removing any electrical items.
You may also choose to hire an industrial floor cleaner to ensure space is in good working condition. You can use an industrial cleaner, such as ASC’s floor scrubber, after the build has been completed to clean up any debris.
9. Oversee the renovation
It is wise to oversee the build process as much as you can. If you have hired the right contractors you can be pretty confident that they will do a top quality job. However, with the stakes so high, it is in your best interest to remain as involved as possible.
10. Be patient
They say that renovating a house can take twice as long as you expect, and cost twice as much, so patience is key. A rushed renovation will last half the time a well-executed renovation will, so to avoid running into costly issues later down the line, practise patience.
Home renovations are no light feat, but if you work through these 10 steps and make sure you leave no stone unturned and take no risks, your dream home will be yours in no time!